Adrian Mooy & Co
How can we help you?
If you are starting your own business, running it as a sole trader is the quickest and easiest way to do it. However, you will have unlimited liability which means you are personally responsible for business debts.
Another important aspect is that you are taxed on all the profits with little opportunity for tax planning. This is why most businesses will incorporate as profits increase.
We can assist in all aspects of self-employment, from choosing the best time to start the business, the best time for your year-end, support you through the initial business registration and provide advice on all aspects of tax.
We provide a range of compliance services for sole traders:
Partnerships are similar to sole trades, except that they are used when more than one person owns the business.
Each profit share is determined by the partners and best practice is to record this in a partnership agreement.
With partnerships each partner has joint and several liability for the debts of the partnership, so that if one partner cannot pay their share of any business debts, the debt will fall on the other partners.
Setting up a partnership agreement from the outset is essential.
Our compliance services include:
We are a member firm of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and our rigorous internal procedures mean that clients can be confident that their accounts have been prepared in line with the Association’s standards of and the Companies Act 2006.
Corporate tax planning can result in significant improvements in your bottom line. Our services will help to minimise your corporate tax exposure.
Self assessment tax returns are becoming increasingly complex and failing to submit your return on time, or correctly, can result in substantial penalties.
We use our expertise and the latest tax software to ensure that tax returns are completed efficiently, accurately and on-time. We have considerable experience in dealing with HMRC and are also experienced in representing our clients should they be subject to a tax enquiry or investigation.
We provide a comprehensive personal tax compliance service for individuals that includes:
Invoicing your contracting work through a limited company is highly tax efficient.
We are IR35 experts and will advise you on how to structure your next contract to minimise IR35 risk. We will ensure you claim all the tax deductible expenses that you are entitled to and work out if you can save money by joining the VAT Flat Rate Scheme. We will complete your accounts and tax returns ahead of deadlines and provide you with clarity over your future tax payments.
Free company incorporation and set up with HMRC if you are a new Contractor and sign up with us.
Included in this service:
VAT • Value added tax is one of the most complex and onerous tax regimes imposed on business. We provide an efficient cost effective VAT service which includes assistance with VAT registration and help with completing your VAT return.
Payroll • Administering your payroll can be time consuming and the task is made all the more difficult by the growing complexity of taxation and employment legislation. We provide a comprehensive payroll service.
Construction Industry Scheme • CIS returns & payments
Book-keeping • Maintenance of accounting records
Management Accounting • Provision of management accounts
If you wish to know more about these services please contact us on 01332 202660.
If your business does not require a statutory audit then our Assurance Service will provide reassurance that your accounts stand up to close scrutiny from your bank or other finance providers.
Work is tailored to your specific requirements and the level of confidence that you are looking to achieve and will provide credibility to your accounts by the issuing of an assurance review report.
Adrian Mooy & Co is a registered auditor with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
We strive to provide an auditing service that adds more value than merely the statutory compliance requirement of an audit.
We tailor the audit to meet your circumstances and needs. Using the latest techniques and software we deliver a cost-effective audit that provides real value.
Before starting out you may need help with business planning, cash flow and profit & loss forecasts.
You may also want help identifying the best structure for your business. From sole trades and partnerships to limited companies and limited liability partnerships, we have the experience to advise on the best solution for you both operationally and from a tax point of view.
We also advise on accounting software selection, profit improvement, profit extraction & tax saving.
If you wish to know more about our Business Start-up service please contact us on 01332 202660.
We can work with you to:
Accountancy and taxation of property is a specialist area. We have the expertise and experience to work effectively with private landlords and property investors. We deal with self-assessment tax returns, accounts preparation and tax advice for all aspects of property portfolios.
Whether you are a first time buy to let landlord or a long established developer we will discuss and understand your situation in order to advise and recommend the most appropriate medium through which to carry out your property investments. We will guide you through the accounting and tax issues and help you to plan effectively to minimise your tax liabilities.
Services we offer include:
We take the time to explain your accounts to you so that you understand what is going on in your business.
Up to date, relevant and quickly produced management information for better control.
As part of our accounts service we prepare your annual accounts and complete yearly personal and business tax returns.
As your year-end approaches we will agree a timetable with you for completion of the accounts that minimises disruption to your business and leaves no late surprises when it comes to your tax liabilities.
We can also prepare management accounts to help you run your business and make effective business decisions. Management accounts are also very useful when approaching lending institutions when no year end accounts are available. We offer:
For a meeting to discuss your requirements please call us on 01332 202660.
We understand the issues facing owner-managed businesses.
We provide advice on personal tax & planning opportunities.
Running a small business places many demands on your time. We can help lift the load with our complete payroll service.
Designed to ease your administrative burden, our service removes what is often a time consuming task, leaving you free to concentrate on managing your business.
We can also prepare your benefits and expenses forms and advise you of any filing requirements and national insurance due. Benefits and expenses can be a complicated area and knowing what to report can be tricky.
We can file all your in-year and year end returns with HMRC and provide you with P60s to distribute to your employees at the year end.
We also offer a solution to meet your auto-enrolment obligations.
Businesses dealing with the requirements of VAT legislation will agree that this is often a complex area.
Our compliance services offer support for all stages of completing your VAT returns, whether you need advice on the treatment of specific transactions or have produced your records and would like verification that they are correct.
We can also advise on the pros and cons of voluntary registration, extracting maximum benefit from the rules on de-registration and the Flat rate VAT scheme.
Our consultancy service guides you through the intricacies of the legislation, pinpointing areas where you may be able to relieve or partly relieve the cost of VAT for your business, for example when purchasing new equipment or undertaking new projects such as property development.
For a free meeting to discuss VAT and obtain further advice please call us on 01332 202660.
We can conduct a full tax review of your business and determine the most efficient tax structure for you.
We give personal tax advice to a wide variety of individuals, including higher rate tax payers, company directors & sole traders.
We can assist with:
For a meeting to discuss your requirements please call us on 01332 202660.
Understand your needs
Firstly we listen and gain an understanding of your business and what you are aiming to achieve.
We seek your opinions on the service we provide and respond to feedback in order to upgrade and improve what we do.
Build a relationship
Success in business is based around relationships and trust. Our objective is to develop and build strong relationships with our clients, based on two way trust and respect.
Confirm your expectations
Our aim is to help you maximise your business potential and we tailor our service to meet your requirements and agree a timetable for delivering them.
Communication is important to the success of any commercial venture. It is therefore a vital part of our work with you, sharing the knowledge and ideas that help you to realise your ambitions.
Straightforward and easy to deal with Adrian Mooy & Co provide an efficient, friendly and professional service - payroll, tax returns, annual accounts and VAT returns are always done on time. Eddie Morris
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Should Landlords Incorporate? - Part 1
Issues to bear in mind for buy-to-let landlords thinking about incorporating of their property business.
A BTL investor should only incorporate his or her business if there is good reason to do so. Before the new rules restricting tax relief for finance costs on residential property, many landlords would not have been better off by incorporating. Since April 2016 a new, more punitive regime for taxing dividend income means that incorporation is even less beneficial.
Example: Sole proprietor vs company - Joe owns several properties, but has no other sources of income. His net property profits are £40,000. In 2016/17, his personal tax position will be:
If he had instead put his properties into a company, the company would first have to pay corporation tax on its profits:
Should Landlords Incorporate? - Part 2
But this is only half the story; although it is Joe's company, he has so far drawn out only £8,000 salary and the rest of the company’s profits are locked up in the company’s bank account - those funds are not yet his. He therefore pays a dividend out of the company to put the funds at his personal disposal.
The real problem is that, by 2020/21, Joe will be getting only 20% tax relief on his mortgage lnterest if he continues to hold the property personally, while the corporate alternative would not be caught. Suppose that Joe's net rental income of £40,000 is after having paid £32,000 in mortgage interest, and move forwards to 2020/21, where all of his mortgage interest will be subject to the new tax relief restriction:
Should Landlords Incorporate? - Part 3
Joe stands to lose £4,100 by 2020/21 if he continues to run his business personally, even though personal tax-free bands and allowances have risen significantly by then (the government has committed to increase the personal allowance to £12,500 and the higher rate threshold to £50,000).
We already have a rough idea of how Joe would fare with a corporate property portfolio, because companies will not be affected by the new BTL finance restrictions. On the basis that companies remain static, then Joe would still be £1,920 worse off in a company in 2020/21 than with a personal portfolio now in 2016/17, but that would nevertheless be £2,180 better than sticking with personal ownership all the way through to 2020/21.
Companies will be more tax-efficient by 2020/21 because the main rate of corporation tax is set to fall to 17%, increasing Joe's saving to more than £3,100.
Many career landlords are dealing with much larger numbers, and the savings will be much more substantial. The key consideration is how much the artificial tax cost of disallowing interest, etc., exceeds the compensating 20% tax relief. If we look instead at an alternative where Joe's mortgage interest is only £12,000, the results are quite different:
In this scenario, the new mortgage interest regime will end up costing Joe only a very small amount annually, even when fully implemented in 2020/21. He would be much better off sticking with direct ownership, rather than incorporating his business.
Other things to consider are the possible effects on student loans, child benefit and the forfeiture of personal allowance for those with larger portfolios.
Correcting VAT errors
Making a mistake in your VAT return is easily done. Maybe you missed something out accidentally or added up some figures wrongly. However, should this happen and you discover that you have made a mistake in a return which you have already filed, don’t panic – it is easy to put things right. Providing the errors meet certain conditions, you do not need to tell HMRC about them – you can simply correct them by adjusting your next VAT return.
You can adjust your current VAT return to correct errors on past returns as long as the errors:
The reporting threshold, which applies to net errors, is £10,000. Net errors that are not more than £10,000 (and which satisfy the other adjustment conditions) can be corrected by adjusting the next VAT return. Errors of more than £10,000 (up to a maximum of £50,000) can also be adjusted via the next VAT return if the error is not more than 1% of the box 6 figure (total value of sales and all other outputs excluding any VAT).
Errors that exceed the reporting threshold must be reported to HMRC. They cannot be corrected by adjusting the next return.
Making the adjustment
Making the adjustment is simple – you just need to:
You must also keep details of the nature of the error and the date that it occurred. Your own VAT must also be corrected.
Richard is a landscape gardener. He is VAT registered and submits returns quarterly. In December 2017, he discovers when preparing his year-end accounts that he has recorded a purchase invoice for £2,400 plus VAT twice, once in January 2017 and once in February 2017. As a result, he has over-claimed VAT of £480 in the quarter to 28 February 2017. At the time that the error is discovered, his next VAT is the quarter to 28 February 2018. As the error was not deliberate, within the last four years and within the reporting threshold, he can correct it in that return. Before adjusting for the error, the box 1 figure for the period (VAT due for the period on sales and other outputs) was £5,360. He needs to increase the box 1 figure by £480 to pay back the amount reclaimed in the earlier return in error. His adjusted box 1 figure is therefore £5,840 (£5,360 + £480).
Not all errors can be corrected by adjusting the VAT return. Errors which are above the reporting threshold, made more than four years ago or which are deliberate need to be notified to HMRC. This can be done by notifying HMRC’s VAT error correction team (see www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/vat-correct-errors-on-your-vat-return for contact details), either on form VAT652 (see www.gov.uk/government/publications/vat-notification-of-errors-in-vat-returns-vat-652) or by letter.
Where the error arose as a result of careless or dishonest behaviour, interest or penalties may be charged.
Letting out your holiday home
If you have a holiday home and decide to let it out, you may be able to benefit from the slightly more generous tax rules that apply to furnished holiday lettings as compared to other types of let, such as a residential let.
To qualify as a furnished holiday let, the property must be furnished and must be in the UK or the EEA. It must also be let on a commercial basis and pass all three occupancy tests.
Test 1 – pattern of occupation
Test 1 is not met if the total of all lettings that exceed 31 continuous days is more than 155 days in the year. So, for example, if there are lets of 63 days, 32 days, 35 days and 34 days (totalling 164 days), the test is not met and the property is not a furnished holiday letting. A normal holiday letting pattern of one or two week lets will pass the test.
Test 2 – availability conditions
The property must be available for letting for at least 210 days in the tax year. Days when the landlord stays in the property do not count.
Test 3 – the letting condition
The property is let commercially as furnished holiday accommodation to the public for at least 105 days in the year. Lets of more than 31 days do not count (unless the let is extended beyond 31 days for unforeseen circumstances, such as the holidaymaker falling ill).
Second bite at the cherry
As far as test 3 is concerned, it may still be possible for the let to qualify as a furnished holiday letting even if it is not let for 105 days in the tax year by using the following elections:
an averaging election; or
a period of grace election.
Both elections can be used to help a property qualify as a furnished holiday let.
This is useful where the landlord has more than one holiday let – the election allows test 3 to be met if, on average, the properties are let for at least 105 days in the tax year.
So, if a landlord has three holiday cottages which are let, respectively, for 150 days, 98 days and 127 days in the tax year, on average, the properties are let for 125 days in the tax year (375 divided by 3) and test 3 is met. If the test is applied to each cottage individually, the one let for 98 days would not qualify – by making an averaging election, all properties qualify.
Period of grace election
A period of grace election can be made where there was a genuine intention to meet the letting condition, but this did not materialise. The election can be made initially where the letting condition was met in the previous tax year. A further period of grace election can be made the following year if the letting condition is again not met. However, if the letting condition is not met the following year, the property no longer qualifies as a furnished holiday let.
Qualifying as a furnished holiday let has a number of benefits:
But, remember, furnished holiday lets form a separate property business and the profits must be worked out separately from other types of let.
Tax-free rental income of £8,500
By making the most of the rent-a-room relief and the £1,000 property income allowances, it is possible to receive tax-free rental income in 2018/19 of £8,500 (while utilising your personal allowance elsewhere).
Rent-a-room relief is available where you let a room to a lodger or lodgers in your own home. The home does not have to be owned – the relief is also available where you rent a property.
Under the scheme, rental income is tax-free up to £7,500. Where two or more people are entitled to the rental income, the rent-a-room limit is halved, so each person can receive up to £3,750 tax-free.
Where the rental income from letting rooms to lodgers in your house exceeds £7,500 you have a choice. You can either deduct £7,500 from the total rental income and pay tax on the balance or you can work out the actual profit in the usual way. If you make a loss, it is better not to claim rent-a-room relief as you will lose the benefit of the loss.
From 6 April 2017, a new property allowance is available for all types of rental income. Where the rental income is less than £1,000, it does not need to be declared to HMRC. Where it is more than £1,000, as with rent-a-room you have the choice of paying tax on the extra above £1,000 or working out the rental profit in the same way.
No double relief
It is not possible to claim both rent-a-room relief and the property allowance if you let a room to a lodger in your own home, so you must choose. As the rent-a-room threshold is higher, this is the one to pick.
Other sources of rental income
But, if you have another source of rental income as well, for example, a property you let out or if you rent out your drive, you can claim the property allowance in addition to rent-a-room relief.
Paula works as an administrative assistant and earns £20,000 in 2017/18. To make some extra money, she lets out a spare room in her house to a lodger and receives rental income of £8,000 in 2017/18. As she lives near a popular sporting venue, she also lets out her drive when there are major sporting events on. In 2017/18, she receives income of £1,250 from that source.
She claims rent-a-room relief in relation to the income from her lodger, receiving £7,500 tax-free and paying tax on the remaining £500. She also claims the property allowance to set against the rental income from letting out her driveway, receiving £1,000 tax-free and paying tax on the balance of £250. Her personal allowance is set against her salary.
By using both allowances, she is able to enjoy a tax-free rental income of £8,500 tax-free.
Disincorporation relief – claim it while you can
Changes to the taxation of dividends have reduced the tax advantages associated with operating as a company. Add into the mix the additional burdens imposed on companies – such as the need to file accounts and an annual confirmation statement at Companies House – and it is easy to see why the question of whether it would now be better to operate as an unincorporated business may arise. However, while it is relatively easy to incorporate a business and reliefs are available to smooth the way, going from a company to an unincorporated business is less straightforward, and may trigger unwanted tax charges.
Enter disincorporation relief
Disincorporation relief allows a company to transfer certain types of assets to its shareholders who continue to operate the business in an unincorporated form, without the company incurring a corporation tax charge on the disposal of the assets.
Without the benefit of the relief, transferring assets to shareholders may trigger a corporation tax charge. A transfer between a company and its shareholders is one between connected persons, and as such, the transfer is deemed to be at market value, regardless of the actual money, if any, which changes hands. If the market value is more than the original cost or tax written down value, this will trigger a corporation tax charge.
Disincorporation relief essentially delays the charge and passes it to the shareholders, who agree to use the transfer value as the cost in working out any gain on a subsequent disposal of the asset.
Disincorporation relief is only available where:
The business must be transferred to individuals or to individuals who are in partnership (but not to a limited liability partnership), and they must continue to run the business afterwards. The relief must be claimed jointly by the company and its shareholders.
The relief is only available for a qualifying transfer. This is a transfer where all the following conditions are met:
Qualifying assets are an interest in land (other than land held as trading stock) and goodwill (though an adjustment may apply if the goodwill relates to a business started on or after 1 April 2002 or acquired from an unrelated third party on or after that date).
At its introduction, disincorporation relief only applied to transfers occurring within a five-year window – 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2018. It was announced at the time of the Autumn 2017 Budget that the end-date will not be extended, and as such disincorporation relief will not be available for transfers after 31 March 2013. The transfer date is normally the date that the business is transferred but may be a different date for a disposal under contract.
Where the intention is to disincorporate, the clock is running on the availability of disincorporation relief.
Buy-to-let landlords – relief for interest
With rising property costs and low interest rates, many people took out a mortgage to invest in a buy-to-let property. As long as property prices continued to rise and the tenants paid their rent, investors could make money from the rising market while the rent from the tenant paid off the mortgage – all the investor needed was the deposit and to convince the bank to lend them the money.
Fast forward a few years and the buy-to-let star is not burning quite so bright. Second and subsequent properties now attract a 3% stamp duty supplement – making them more expensive to buy – and relief for mortgage interest and other costs is being seriously reduced.
Interest relief – the new rules
Prior to 6 April 2016, the rules were simple. In calculating the profits of his or her property business, the landlord simply deducted the associated mortgage interest and finance costs.
New rules apply from 6 April 2017, with changes being phased in gradually over a four-year period so as to move from a system under which relief is given fully by deduction to one where relief is given as a basic rate tax reduction. This changes both the rate and mechanism of relief. The changes do not apply to property companies – only unincorporated businesses.
What does this mean
Relief by deduction simply means deducting the amount of the interest, as for other expenses, in working out the profit or loss of the property business.
Where relief is given as a basic rate tax reduction, instead of deducting the interest in calculating profit, 20% of the interest is deducted from the tax calculated by reference to the profit (as determined without taking out interest for which relief is given as a tax reduction).
For 2017/18, a landlord can deduct in full 75% of his or her finance cost. The remainder is given as a basic rate tax reduction.
Freddie has a number of buy to let properties. In 2017/18, his rental income is £21,000, he pays mortgage interest of £5,000 and has other expenses of £3,000. He is a higher rate taxpayer.
Tax on his rental income is calculated as follows:
Rental income £21,000
Less: interest (75% of £5,000) (£3,750)
other expenses (£3,000)
Taxable profit £14,250
Tax @ 40% £5,700
Less: basic rate tax reduction
(20% (£5,000 x 25%)) (£250)
Tax payable £5,450
This compares to a tax bill of £5,200, which would have been payable had relief for the interest been given in full by deduction.
The pendulum swings gradually from relief by deduction to relief as a basic rate tax reduction. In 2018/19, relief for half of the interest and finance costs is by deduction and relief for the other half is as a basic rate tax deduction. In 2019/20, only 25% of the interest and finance costs are deductible, relief for the remaining 75% being given as a basic rate tax reduction. From 2020/21 onwards, relief is only available as a basic rate tax reduction.
Use of home as office
Use of home as office is a catch-all phrase to describe the costs that a self-employed businessperson has in running at least part of their business operations from home. It need not be an office as people may use a spare bedroom to hold stock for assembly and postage, or similar.
Many will have used the figures that HMRC has long published for employees’ ’homeworking expenses’ - initially £2 a week, then £3 a week, changing to £4 a week from 2012/13.
From 2013/14 onwards HMRC has adopted the following rates:
Hours of business use per month 25-50 flat rate per month £10
Hours of business use per month 51-100 flat rate per month £18
Hours of business use per month 101+ flat rate per month £26
So in HMRC’s eyes, I am entitled to a deduction of £120 a year for the use of home office space (or similar), but basically only so long as I spend at least 25 hours a month working from home. Working more than 25 hours a week - broadly full time - from home gets me the princely sum of £312 per year.
Working from home may be cheap, but it’s not that cheap.
The following guidance assumes that the claimant is not using the cash basis of assessment for tax purposes, as the rules work differently.
'Wholly and exclusively’ - Business expenses are allowed if incurred 'wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the trade'. This is a cardinal rule; however, there is a further point:
'Where an expense is incurred for more than one purpose, this section does not prohibit a deduction for any identifiable part or identifiable proportion of the expense which is incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the trade’ (ITTOIA 2005, s 34).
Applying these principles, I do not have to use a room in my house exclusively for my self-employment, just so long as when I am using it for business purposes, that is all it is being used for.
The costs you are allowed to claim - It is worth bearing in mind that HMRC does have guidance on how to make a more comprehensive claim for using one’s home in the business, in its Business Income manual however you may find it strange that almost all of the examples result in a claim of around £200 a year or less!
HMRC’s guidance nevertheless includes the following potentially allowable costs:
If you incur appreciable costs on the above then just £120 a year as a standard use of home deduction, or even £312 a year, is likely to make you feel more than a little aggrieved.
Mileage rates for landlords
In preparation for the introduction of digital recording and reporting, landlords with unincorporated property businesses have been able to benefit from a number of simplifications, including cash basis accounting. A further simplification was announced at the time of the Autumn 2017 Budget, which will allow landlords to use mileage rates to calculate a deduction for motoring expenses.
Who can benefit?
The option to use mileage rate is only open to individuals and partnerships comprised only of individuals running property businesses who use cars, goods vehicles, or motorcycles for business purposes. Corporate landlords and partnerships with corporate partnerships cannot claim deductions based on mileage rate.
The use of mileage rates is an alternative to claiming capital allowances and a deduction for actual costs.
The opportunity for landlords to use mileage rates is not new – until 2013, landlords were able to use mileage rates by concession. However, since that date, unincorporated property businesses have only been able to deduct actual motoring expenses and claim capital allowances for the cost of the vehicle.
The mileage rates for landlords will be the same as those for traders claiming a fixed rate deduction. 45p for the first 10,000 business miles, 25p thereafter.
In most cases, the option of using mileage rates will not be available in respect of a vehicle for which capital allowances have been claimed – it may therefore be a case of waiting until a new vehicle is acquired before switching over to using mileage rates rather than deducting actual costs.
However, transitional arrangements will apply where a qualifying landlord claimed capital allowances for a vehicle in the period 2013/14 to 2016/17 and wishes to start using mileage allowances from 2017/18 for the same vehicle. The transitional arrangements will enable mileage rates to be used, but will prevent further claims for capital allowances.
James is a landlord with an unincorporated property business. He uses a car for 11,670 business miles in 2017/18. Capital allowances have not been claimed in respect of the vehicle and he decides to use mileage rates rather than actual expenses to claim a deduction when working out his taxable profit.
The permitted deduction is £4,917.50 ((10,000 miles @ 45p) + (1,670 miles @ 25p)).
If capital allowances plus a deduction for actual expenses give a greater deduction, the landlord will need to assess whether the time saving from using mileage rates is worthwhile.
Taxation of Savings – what can you have tax-free?
There is no one answer to the amount of savings income and, for 2017/18, the answer can range from £0 to £18,650, depending on personal circumstance.
When looking at tax-free savings, there are a number of elements to take into account:
Savings income, such as bank and building society interest, is now paid gross without tax deducted.
Personal allowance - If a person has no other income (or only dividend income in addition to savings income), or their other income is less than £11,500, some or all of the personal allowance (set at £11,500 for 2017/18) will be available to shelter savings income.
Marriage allowance - Where the marriage allowance is claimed, this increases the potential tax-free income by £1,150 in 2017/18.
Savings allowance - In addition to the personal allowance, individuals who pay tax at the basic or higher rate are also entitled to a savings allowance. The amount of the allowance depends on the individual’s marginal rate of tax and is set at £1,000 a year for basic rate taxpayers and at £500 a year for higher rate taxpayers. There is no savings allowance for additional rate taxpayers.
Savings starting rate - Savers with little in the way of other taxable income can also benefit from a 0% savings starting rate on savings of up to £5,000, in addition to savings sheltered by the personal and savings allowance. However, the savings starting rate is quite complicated in that the starting rate limit is reduced by taxable non-savings income. So, if a person has taxable non-savings income of £2,000, the savings starting rate of 0% is available on savings income of £3,000, as the £5,000 limit is reduced by the taxable non-savings income of £2,000 to £3,000. Likewise, if a person has taxable non-savings income of more than £5,000, the savings starting rate limit is reduced to nil.
Case study 1: maximum tax-free savings - Elsie is retired and her only income is savings income, which in 2017/18 is £20,000. Her husband has income of £8,000 and Elsie benefits from the marriage allowance of £1,150. The first £11,500 of her savings income is covered by her personal allowance of £11,500 and the next £1,150 by the marriage allowance, leaving £7,350, of which £1,000 is covered by the personal savings allowance for basic rate taxpayers. This leaves savings income of £6,350. As she has no taxable non-savings income, she is entitled to the savings starting rate of 0% on savings equal to the saving starting rate limit of £5,000. Consequently, she is able to enjoy £18,650 (£11,500 + £1,150 + £1,000 + £5,000) of her savings tax-free and is taxed at the basic rate of 20% on her remaining savings of £1,350 – giving her a tax bill of £270.
Case study 2: reduced starting rate limit - In 2017/18, Arthur has a pension of £14,000 and savings income of £6,000. His personal allowance is set against his pension, leaving him with taxable non-savings income of £2,500. He is entitled to the saving personal allowance of £1,000, which is set against £1,000 of his savings income. As he has taxable non-savings income of less than £5,000, the savings starting rate is reduced by his taxable non-savings income of £2,500 to £2,500. £2,500 of his savings income is eligible for the 0% savings starting rate. He, therefore, receives savings income of £3,500 tax-free. The remaining £2,500 of his savings income is taxed at 20%, as is the excess of his pension over his personal allowance of £2,500. His tax bill for £2017/18 is, therefore, £1,000 (£5,000 @ 20%).
Case study 3: higher rate taxpayer - Wendy has a salary of £50,000 and savings income of £5,000 in 2017/18. Her personal allowance is set against her salary. She is entitled to the personal savings allowance of £500 available to higher rate taxpayers, but she is not eligible for the savings starting rate as her taxable non-savings income (£38,500, being £50,000 - £11,500) is more than £5,000. She receives tax-free savings income of £500.
As the case studies show, the amount of savings income a person may receive can vary considerably depending on what other income they have and the rate at which they pay tax.
Savings income – do you need to claim back tax?
From 6 April 2016 onwards, bank and building society interest has been paid gross without the deduction of tax. However, previously basic rate tax was deducted at source unless you were a non-taxpayer who had registered to receive your interest gross.
If you had savings income in 2015/16, your taxable income was low, and if you hadn’t registered to receive your income gross, you may be due a repayment.
For 2015/16, the personal allowance was set at £10,600. To the extent that taxable non-savings income did not exceed the savings rate limit of £5,000, savings rate income was taxed at 0%. This meant that an individual could potentially receive up to £15,600 of savings income tax-free if they had no other income.
Case study 1
June is 74. In 2015/16, she receives a pension of £8,000 and bank and building society interest of £6,000 (gross) from which tax of £1,200 has been deducted.
Her total income for the year is £14,000.
Her pension of £8,000 is fully covered by her personal allowance of £10,600, leaving £2,600 of her personal allowance available to set against her savings income of £6,000.
The remaining £3,400 of her savings income is taxed at the savings starting rate of 0%. She has no taxable non savings income, so the full £5,000 nil rate savings rate band is available to her.
Therefore, no tax is due on June’s saving income of £6,000 and she is entitled to a repayment of the tax of £1,200 deducted at source.
Case study 2
Margaret is also 74. She receives a pension of £12,000 and building society interest of £6000 on which tax of £1,200 has been deducted.
Her personal allowance of £10,600 is set against her pension, leaving her with £1,400 of taxable pension income. The savings starting rate band of £5,000 is reduced by the amount of her taxable non-savings income, reducing the amount of savings income eligible for the zero rate to £3,600.
The first £3,600 of her savings income is tax-free. The remaining £2,400 is taxed at 20% - giving rise to a tax bill of £480. However, as £1,200 has been deducted at source, Margaret is entitled to a repayment of £720.
Claiming the repayment
The 2015/16 self-assessment tax return should have been filed by 31 January 2017. Where a tax return has been completed, the repayment can be claimed via the self-assessment system.
Where there is no requirement to file a tax return, a repayment of tax on savings income can be claimed on form R40.
Savings allowance from 6 April 2016
In most cases, the need to claim a repayment of tax deducted from savings income will disappear from 6 April 2016. From that date, bank and building society interest is paid gross and basic rate and higher rate taxpayers are allowed a savings allowance allowing them to receive savings income tax-free up to the level of the allowance, regardless of whether they have taxable non-savings income. The allowance is set at £1,000 for basic rate taxpayers and £500 for higher rate taxpayers for both 2016/17 and 2017/18. The savings rate limit and starting rate for savings remain, respectively, at 0% and at £5,000.
Working out your dividend tax bill
Dividends are a special case when it comes to tax and have their own rates and rules. The taxation of dividends was radically reformed from 6 April 2016 and the rules outlined below apply to a dividend paid on or after that date.
The first step to working out tax on dividend income is to determine the amount of that income. From 6 April 2016, this is simply the dividends actually received in the tax year. There is no longer any need to gross up as dividends no longer come with an associated tax credit.
The first £5,000 of dividend income is tax-free. All individuals, regardless of whether they are a non-taxpayer, a basic rate taxpayer, a higher rate taxpayer, or an additional rate taxpayer, are entitled to a dividend allowance of £5,000.
Although referred to as an allowance, the dividend allowance works as a nil rate band in that dividends falling within the allowance are taxed at a notional zero rate (so received tax-free). However, it counts as earnings and will use up part of the basic or higher rate band, as applicable.
The Government plans to reduce this allowance to £2,000 from 6 April 2018.
Rate of tax
Once the dividend allowance has been used up, the rate at which dividends are taxed depends on the tax band in which they fall. If the individual has some or all of his or her personal allowance available, this can be set against dividend income before any tax is payable. Where the taxpayer has other sources of income, dividends are treated as the top slice. It is important to remember this to ensure that dividends are taxed at the correct rate.
Dividends are taxed at the dividend rates of tax, rather than the standard income tax rates. For 2017/18, dividend tax rates are as follows:
The dividend ordinary rate applies to dividend income falling within the basic rate band, which for 2017/18 is the first £33,500 of taxable income. This applies to Scottish taxpayers too, rather than the Scottish basic rate band.
The dividend higher rate applies where taxable dividend income sits in the band between £45,001 and £150,000 and the dividend higher rate applies where dividend income falls in the additional rate band (taxable income above £150,000).
In 2017/18, Fiona receives dividend income of £55,000. She also receives a salary of £8,000 from her family company. The tax payable on her dividends is worked out as follows:
Thus, Fiona must pay tax of £7,987.50 on her dividend of £55,000 ((£5,000 @ 0%) + (£3,500 @ 0%) + (£28,500 @ 7.5%) + (£18,000 @ 32.5%)).
Private Residence Relief for Landlords - Part 1
With landlords facing capital gains tax (CGT) rates of 18% and/or 28% on the disposal of residential properties, this article considers the availability of private residence relief on disposals by landlords.
Private residence relief is available to shelter the gain on disposal of a person’s only or main residence. Ownership of a property alone is not sufficient to qualify for the relief; there must also have been occupation of the property as a residence.
If a let property does qualify for relief, this could add up to a valuable sum, as the following amounts potentially qualify:
Ensuring the property is the taxpayer’s residence - to qualify for relief, the property must be the person’s only or main residence, which carries with it an expectation of occupation with permanence.
Private Residence Relief for Landlords - Part 2
Example - Let property: How much relief?
Fred bought a house on 1 July 2002 for £12S,000. He occupied the property until 30 September 2005, when he decided to go travelling. He returned to the property on 1 l\/lay 2006 and occupied it until 31 March 2009, when he bought another house jointly with his girlfriend, which they occupied together. He decided to let out his house, and it was let until he disposed of it for £294,697 on 30 June 2016.
The periods qualifying for relief are as follows:
The property was owned for 14 years in total, with eight years and three months attracting private residence relief. The total gain was £169,697 and £100,000 of the gain (8.25/14 years x £169,697) qualifies for private residence relief.
The gain attributable to letting is for a period of five years and nine months and is £69,697 (5.75/14 years x £169,697). As this exceeds the maximum amount of relief of £40,000, the amount of relief for the letting period is restricted to £40,000.
This leaves Fred with a chargeable gain of £29,697.
Private Residence Relief for Landlords - Part 3
Which property is the only or main residence? Where a person has more than one residence (which is different to owning more than one residential property), determining which property is the main residence can either be decided on the facts, or an election can be made to nominate which is the main residence (TCGA 1992, s 222(5)).
Where an election is made, the property that is nominated does not have to factually be the 'main' residence, but it does have to be a dwelling house in use as the person’s residence (i.e. occupied on a permanent basis) for the election to be valid.
Time limits apply for making an election. An election can be made within two years of whenever there is a new combination of residences. This happens when a person starts occupying a dwelling as a residence, or ceases occupying a property as their residence (which may be different to when the property is acquired or disposed of).
An election can be varied at any time, and backdated for up to two years from the date that it was given. HMRC guidance states:
‘A variation will often be made when a disposal of a residence is in prospect or the disposal has already been made and the individual making the disposal wishes to secure the final period exemption.
For example, where an individual with two residences validly nominates house A, they may vary that nomination to house B at any time. The variation can then be varied back to house A within a short space of time. This will enable the individual to obtain the benefit of the final period exemption on house B with a loss of only a small proportion of relief of on house A.’
Ownership by husband and wife - for the purposes of private residence relief, a husband and wife may only have one residence. However, when it comes to letting relief, in the case of joint ownership by husband and wife each may have relief of up to £40,000.
Corporate gains – end of indexation allowance
To date, companies have been able to benefit from relief for inflationary gains in the form of indexation allowance when they dispose of an asset. The indexation relief is deducted in computing the chargeable gain or allowable loss.
However, it was announced at the time of the Autumn 2017 Budget that the relief is to be frozen – the effect being that no relief will be available for inflationary gains arising on or after 1 January 2018. Where an asset is disposed of on or after 1 January 2018, the indexation allowance will only be calculated up to December 2017. Where an asset is acquired after December 2017, no indexation allowance will be available to mitigate any gain on disposal.
The freezing of indexation allowance will bring the position of companies more closely into line with that of individuals. Individuals have not received relief for inflationary gains since the ending of taper relief in April 2008.
Nature of indexation allowance
Indexation allowance is deducted when working out the gain chargeable to corporation tax. The indexation allowance is based on movements in the retail prices index (RPI) between the month in which the asset was acquired and the month in which the asset was disposed of. HMRC publish indexation allowance tables each month.
Indexation allowance – date of disposal is before 1 January 2018
Where the disposal takes place before 1 January 2018, the indexation allowance is computed by reference to the actual month in which the disposal took place.
Snowdrop Ltd sold a capital asset for £100,000 in November 2017. The asset was acquired in February 2015 for £80,000.
Using HMRC’s indexation allowance table for November 2017 (see www.gov.uk/government/publications/corporation-tax-on-chargeable-gains-indexation-allowance-2017/indexation-allowance-november-2017), the indexation factor for February 2015 is 0.074.
The indexation allowance is found by multiplying the indexation factor by the cost of the asset.
The indexation allowance is, therefore, £80,000 x 0.074 = £5,920.
The gain chargeable to corporation tax is, therefore, £100,000 – (£80,000 + £5,920) = £14,080.
Indexation allowance – date of disposal on or after 1 January 2018
Where an asset is disposed of after 2018, the indexation allowance is calculated by reference to the indexation factor for December 2017, regardless of the actual date of disposal. This means that the indexation allowance for an asset acquired before 1 January 2018 will be the same, regardless of whether it is disposed of in January 2018 or December 2018. No relief is given for inflation beyond 31 December 2017.
No Minimum Period of Occupation Needed for Main Residence
Main residence relief (private residence relief) protects homeowners from any gains arising on their only or main home. However, there are conditions to be met for the relief to be available. One of the major ones is that the property is at some time during the period of ownership occupied as the owner’s only or main home. Where this is the case, the period of occupation as a main home is sheltered from capital gains tax, as is the final 18 months of ownership, regardless of whether the property is occupied as a main home for that final period.
Living in a property for a period of time is worthwhile to secure main residence relief, not least because doing so has the added benefit of sheltering any gain that arises in the last 18 months of ownership.
But, how long does the property have to be occupied as a main residence to trigger the protective effects of the relief?
Quality not quantity
A recent decision by the First-tier tax tribunal confirmed that there is no minimum period of residence that is needed to secure main residence relief – what matters is that there has been a period of residence as the only or main home.
The case in question concerned a taxpayer who ran a property development company and who purchased a property in which he intended to live in as a main home. The property was initially purchased through the company, but the taxpayer intended to obtain a mortgage to buy it from the company. He lived in the property for a period of two and a half months whilst trying to sort out his finances. As a result of the financial crash, he was only able to secure a buy-to-let mortgage, the terms of which precluded him living in the property. The property was let to a friend, but the taxpayer moved in briefly following the friend’s death and undertook some decorating with a view to moving back in with his family. Due to health problems, this did not happen and the property was sold, realising a gain.
The Tribunal found that the taxpayer had lived in the property as a main home, albeit for a short period. It was the quality of occupation, not the quantity, that was important. Consequently, main residence relief was available.
Where a person owns a second home, living in it as a main residence, even if only for a short period, can be beneficial. This will protect not only the gain relating to the period of occupation from capital gains tax but also the last 18 months.
Partner note: TCGA 1992, s. 222; Stephen Bailey v HMRC TC06085.
Dividends have lost some of their appeal thanks to the changes announced in the 2015 Summer Budget, and implemented from 6 April 2016. Basically, the effective income tax rate on dividends has increased by 7.5% across the bands, significantly narrowing the efficiency margin. However, where the alternative is a bonus subject to employees' and employers' National Insurance contributions (NICs), they are still relatively tax-efficient, and are likely to remain the preferred method of extracting profits (broadly above the personal allowance) for many family-owned companies.
Beware of insufficient company reserves - The company may pay out as dividends only what it can afford to, when measured against its distributable profits - basically all the after-tax profits it has ever made since incorporation, after all previous dividends it has paid out. It does not necessarily matter if a company is making losses, or has just made losses in the latest accounting period; what matters is whether there remains an overall distributable surplus.
Get the balance right - Taxpayers often assume that they can vote dividends in the amounts they see fit, for various family shareholders. By default, dividends must be voted in proportion to shareholdings. This is arguably subject to the company’s Articles of Association, but it would be most unusual for the Articles to deviate from this standard.
Dividend waivers - One of the ways to get around this is to 'waive' one’s entitlement to a proposed dividend by means of a dividend waiver, in respect of some or all of one’s shares. The waiver can be in respect of a future dividend, or several future dividends, or apply for a given period.
Pitfalls with waivers - A waiver is a formal document: it is a legal deed of waiver so must be drawn up correctly, and must be signed and witnessed accordingly. Waivers cannot be implemented retrospectively; they must be in place before entitlement to the dividend arises. They should not last for more than twelve months.
Alphabet shares instead? - If waivers are likely to be a regular feature, then it may be better to issue a separate class of shares to the affected shareholder, that may well rank on an equal footing with the original class of shares, but effectively circumventing the presumption that all shares of a particular designation are equally entitled to a dividend. It is generally recommended that such shares rank on an equal footing so that they are demonstrably and significantly more than just a right to income.
Pitfalls in relation to timing of dividends - A common pitfall with otherwise valid dividends is that the dividend paperwork must also be in order - and timeous.
ln particular, interim dividends may be varied at any time up until they are actually paid, and if payment is effected by journal entry rather than with a money transfer (cheque, bank credit, etc.) HMRC’s position is that it is not effected until it is written up in the company’s books and accounting records. ln HMRC’s company taxation manual (at CTM15205), HMRC is quite clear that if the journals are written up later on, the dividend will be treated as paid on that later date - even if in a later income tax year.
Conclusion: Despite the government’s best efforts, dividends remain a very important component of the profit extraction/remuneration strategy of most family companies. There are, however, numerous opportunities to go wrong, and it is important to work with your accountant to develop (and stick to) a compliant regime that works for your business.
Private Use Of Employer Business Assets - Part 1
Private Use Of Employer Business Assets - Part 2
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